Saturday, July 10, 2010


Wow. How's that for a post title? Are you still with me? Or have you run from my blog screaming??? ;)

Saturdays are my "just for fun" days, and today I feel like conducting a poll. But before I do, I have to give you a little background...

My first son was born in Canada, and I was the happy recipient of a year-long maternity leave. Being the smitten young mom that I was, I eagerly nursed my little one for 10 and 1/2 months. It was bliss. I loved it. He loved it. I never even gave my son a bottle because there was no need to. I was there and I had everything he needed. As you can imagine, I became very adept at managing my little son and a great, big blanket that preserved my modesty. Breastfeeding was such a positive experience for me that I've been eagerly anticipating it again. Until recently.

A few days ago someone took me aside to gently tell me that when my baby is born, I need to nurse in a separate room. None of this discreet feeding behind a blanket around family and/or close friends. Me and my little one have to be out of sight. I was heartbroken.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no exhibitionist and I have no desire to embarrass myself or those around me by flaunting anything that doesn't need to be flaunted. But if I have to leave the room every time my baby needs to eat (like, every two hours), I don't know if I can breastfeed. Just the thought makes me sad.

So, here's my question for you. How do you view this obviously touchy subject? I'd love to know.

  1. Breast is best! New mothers have every right to nurse their babies wherever they want to. Naysayers can close their eyes.
  2. Breastfeeding is great for both mothers and babies. So is compromise. Go ahead and feed, but be discreet. Use a blanket. Know the situation and leave the room when it's appropriate.
  3. If you choose to breastfeed, that's fine, but please use a bottle in public. Even if you use a blanket, we know what you're doing and aren't thrilled with the reminder.
  4. Breastfeeding is gross. That's why people invented formula.
I think you probably already know where I fall on the spectrum, but I'll share after I hear from a few of you. 


  1. I'd have to go with #2. I have to wonder if the person who said this to you has some issues.

    My son was adopted so I didn't nurse, but my best friend has nursed all 3 of her children. With the first one she was very discreet finding an empty room or somewhere she could feed in privacy. With her 2nd and 3rd ones though she does what you've said in #2. Depending on where she is and who is around she will find a private place, but at home or even here at my house she keeps a blanket to cover herself. I don't know anyone that thinks anything about it either.

  2. Hi, Nicole! I breastfed both of my kids, each for two years. That added up to a total of four years of breastfeeding. Neither one ever used a bottle or ever tasted formula.

    For women who need to bottle-feed and use formula, I am so thankful we have the technology that still gives them a wonderful feeding experience that is healthy for their children. However, if it works for the mom and the baby, breast is best.

    I'm so fortunate that I live in a culture here in my Southern California town where this is the generally accepted line of thought. From my experience, moms in my circle rarely hesitate to feed babies in public, and we have a host of options for privacy. (Have you see "Bebe Au Lait" and "Hooter Hiders"? They're beautiful and work fabulously. I found that my options for covering up made it easy to nurse anywhere. The only place where I felt I needed to separate myself was church, and that was a very nice experience anyway because our church has a separate room specifically for moms of little ones who need space and still want to be part of the service.

    My opinion is that no mom should have to give up breastfeeding due to any sort of societal pressure. I come from the same background and type of community that you do, so I think I might understand that pressure a bit though. It puts you in a hard spot, doesn't it?! In addition, I know not all moms have the luxury of unlimited breastfeeding, and many are limited by jobs and other constraints. However, I would never trade the experience I had for anything, and I don't think my kids would either. Good luck to you! I hope you have the feeding experience you long for!

  3. I'm number two all the way. Not that I was embarassed, but I was sensitive to other people who might be. So I covered myself.

    Only in America do we make such a big deal out of breastfeeding. Boobs are such a sexual object here in our culture, so breastfeeding becomes this weird thing to some people. When really it's so natural.

    I nursed my son for 10.5 months too! The only reason I stopped (I wanted to do it for a year) was b/c I had to travel w/o him and didn't want to bring my pump along. I loved breastfeeding him. Not only was it a way for us to bond, it's cheaper, it's convenient (no washing bottles!), not to mention the health benefits for both mom and child.

    I'm definitely not one of those who thinks every child should be breastfed and mothers who don't are wrong. I have lots of friends who didn't nurse, for whatever reason - from pain, to lifestyle, to baby wouldn't take it, or not producing enough. There are lots of reasons why women don't breastfeed and I think we all have to do what works best for Mommy and babe.

    However, if you loved breastfeeding before and looked forward to it (I look forward to it again too...whenever that day shall come) then I say whoever told you that has no business telling you that. If you cover yourself, then why does it matter? That person can leave the room. Why do you have to? It's almost like they are making you feel shameful about something that is beautiful and natural.

    I wasn't one of those who whipped my boob out. I used a cover. But I nursed in public.

    Wow, this is a loooong comment! Can you tell I have opinions about it?

    On a funny note, I have the most hilarious story involving my brother and the Le Leche League. Oh my goodness, it's hilarious.

  4. Oh, wow! I definitely have to chime in here. I have a 5-month-old and he is exclusively breastfed. I don't own a pump and am not going to spend hundreds of dollars on one because people are uncomfortable.

    With that said, though, I definitely fall into #2, not #1. I think it's wrong for nursing mothers to be immodest and indiscreet while nursing in public. But I also think it's wrong for them to be expected to leave the room every time they nurse! Yes, cover up and be discreet... but don't be banned!

    Personally, I nursed in front of people all the time when my baby was first born... in-laws, everyone. He was so tiny and I could just pop him under the cover and he'd be quiet and still for half an hour while eating. Now, he's much more active and doesn't like to be covered, plus he's distractable, so I usually leave the room if I can for both our sakes.

    Also, if I could pump and bottle feed him away from home, that would probably make me more comfortable too.

    So yes, I believe in being discreet and not exposing people to your private parts while breastfeeding. But no, I don't believe nursing mothers should be banished while nursing! I can't believe someone told you that!

  5. Well, I don't haven't children (yet, Lord willing), but when I do, I'm going with number 2. Blankets are wonderful things. And haven't there been several scientific studies on why breastfeeding is great for the baby's health, intelligence, development, etc... and for the mother/baby bond?

  6. I'll side with option 2. Absolutes don't always apply to real life, and our society seems to turn a blind eye to the life giving, nourishing abilities that God blessed women with.
    Did this person who pulled you aside know about the cool covers they now have? Maybe you should title your next post "hooter hider" ;)

  7. Based on our American culture I say number 2, however I think that the stigma of breastfeeding in public doesn't help those moms who would like to breastfeed but either are physically having a very difficult time or do not have a good dose of "who cares what others think". I personally would have no problems nursing in public w/o a blanket, but I don't out of courtesy for the culture we live in. BTW - whoever says you need to go to another room every time is being very rude in my opinion. They either have never breastfed or do not fully understand the importance of breastfeeding for a baby's development. It's hard for people to value something when the effects are not immediate and there is no way to compare on an individual basis the differences b/t breastfeeding and formula. Sorry if I am coming across too strong, I care a lot about this subject. Love, Brenda

  8. I vote #2 - I don't see any problem with a mother nursing in public as long as she covers with a blanket. I nursed all four of my children and I can't image going to hide every time they were hungry. Of course there are times when it would be best to find another place if possible, that said each mother should do what she feels is comfort.

  9. I say 2 as well. I breastfed my daughter until I, unfortunately, dried up after 3 months. But I think it was important that I did while I could and Breast is Best. And I didn't care where I was, if she was hungry she was fed, and I had a little cape that I wore so I didn't expose myself when I did it in public or when I had friends over. I will continue in this pattern and will breastfeed all my future kids as long as I can.
    I agree with everyone who says that lady was being rude. If she has a problem with you doing what God intended and designed for mothers to do for their babies, she can look away or leave. It's not like you are being indiscreet or brazen about it.

  10. Oh how I love your long replies. :) I feel like we're sitting on comfy couches in a coffee shop chatting it out like old friends.

    Surprise, surprise, I'm with every single one of you: #2. I don't have a lovely Hooter Hider, but I just ordered a breastfeeding wrap from Lassig. (Have you all discovered Zulily? It's a wonderful discount site that features items for moms, moms-to-be, and babies.) Anyway, the wrap is gorgeous and chic and I'm so excited to use it to nurse. Maybe I can just pretend I'm snuggling my baby under there... ;)

    As for why I'm so bent out of shape about this all, I've been doing some soul-searching and I think this issue touched a raw nerve in me for many reasons. First of all, I would have happily nursed my eldest longer than 10 1/2 months, but he refused me. It was hard for me to give up, especially since I wasn't the one who made that important choice--he did. Also, it's been a long, hard road for us to get to the place where we're expecting another biological baby. Five years, four miscarriages, and lots of tears and wrestling with God to be exact. At any rate, suffice it to say I've been looking forward to breastfeeding again for a very long time.

    Thank you for all of your heartfelt, thoughtful replies. I think I'm going to stick to my guns on this one--I'll breastfeed, but it'll be behind the privacy of my beautiful, new wrap. Guess I'll have to develop a thick skin...

    Hugs to all,

  11. As a dad who is in support of breastfeeding I say #2 is completely appropriate.

    No offense but if someone has a problem with it they can take it up with the God of the Universe, who happened to invent it. I will refrain from stating my opinion of those who don't think it is appropriate.

    I have opinions? Noo! Probably shouldn't even be chiming in but since you asked...

  12. I'm nowhere near being a mother (I'm only 23 and single, alas). But I'd go with #2 as well. I want moms and babies to do what they want and need, but for modesty's sake it would be nice to have the blanket/wrap. Funny story: I work at a restaurant. Mother goes to an empty table to breastfeed her baby. No cover/blankie. Just pull the t-shirt down and go to town, haha. It was incredibly awkward to ask her not to breastfeed (we couldn't just have her sitting at a table that needed to be cleaned and re-sat for other guests). I felt bad that we had to ask, and though she was in the most secluded part of the restaurant it was still somewhat immodest. Also, I wondered about why she didn't breastfeed before she came in to eat. I know babies have crazy schedules, but I didn't understand. I'm not a mother nor do I know any women with young babies (other than a few cousins) so forgive my confusion. Just wanted to share my story! Go ahead and use your new wrap. I'd do the same :)


  13. I'm chiming in a little late but #2 for me also. I breast fed each of my 3 girls for 16 mths, 14 mths and 12 mths respectively. I weaned my eldest but my younger two determined it on their own! I'm from Australia and I think generally speaking breastfeeding discreetly is accepted. Of course, there are certain places (church) or people who were sensitive for whatever reason and I would make a choice not to embarrass them. We had a female politician who breastfed during a parliamentary session which caused quite fuss but most people seemed to support her.

    It seems silly as we are all encouraged that breastfeeding is best for baby for people to then require women and children to be ostracized for it!

  14. I have one son (2.5 years old) and a new baby due in early October. I had SUCH a hard time breastfeeding my son - not because it hurt or he didn't latch but because he would stay on ALL THE TIME - like he would take a couple of slurps, then fall asleep, then wake up a fw minutes later for a slurp or two then fall back asleep. I ended up doing a combination of breastfeeding, pumping into bottles and formula. I totally intend to try again with the new baby and hopefully, will have a better experience (because I kind of know what to expect now).

    I don't think breastfeeding is gross at all but I do plan to cover up if I do it in public. I think that this would make it more relaxing for me and new baby, which I found helped me a lot when trying to breasfeed my son (relaxing that is).

    That being said, I've also learned that not everyone is like ME. Some people won't breastfeed and some people might not like what I may do by supplementing with formula or pumping and that's ok. Each person is different - it's what works for you and baby.

    Good luck! And what that lady said was particularly insensitive. It's hard enough being a parent (let alone a first timer) because you constantly second guess yourself but you don't need rude people doing it also! Rock on mamma!

  15. Ok, Nicole, you have now stumbled upon the breastfeeding nazi. #1. God created breasts to feed babies and that is what makes them beautiful. Society has reduced our best maternal feature to cheap porn and it is ridiculous! Nurse that baby wherever, whenever and for how ever long you feel like it. Tell "someone" that if it bothers them they can look away. Breastfeeding is the best option for every baby. The only baby I didn't nurse was Precious and if God had heard my prayers and given me lactation I would have nursed her as well! Formula is a mediocre substitute and will never compare to the thousands of benefits of breastmilk, both for mom and babe. If you have questions or need a consultant when you get this baby latched me. And call me for encouragement. And nurse this baby!

  16. one who happily breast-fed two of my kiddos, I have to go with #2. I am totally all for it howEVER I have been witness to of moms who have literally just whipped out their breast to feed their child, letting anyone and everyone who looked get a clear view of all her goodies. THAT is a bit much for me...BUT I also don't think that one should have to leave the room as a properly placed blanket can cover what others need not see.

    Its a beautiful thing and my only regret is that I was only able to feed 2 that there is a definate bond that was created.

  17. Have I told you how much I love hearing from you? This is one of the funnest posts I've ever done. Looks like I need to blog about controversial topics more often. Any ideas??? ;)

    Adam, it was great to hear from a guy. And Brandi, the perspective of a young woman was refreshing. Thanks!

    Melissa, I'm with you--not everyone shares my opinion and I accept that. I have many friends that (for various reasons) opted not to breastfeed. I don't look down on them at all, but I do hope that they respect my decision, too. It's funny how we can become militant either way...

    Thanks for the offer, Nikolyn! I just might be calling you... I had some issues early on with my eldest, and if I would've had the counsel of someone who knew what she was doing I think I could have avoided much pain and heartache the first few months.

    Rel and Bina, yikes, there are some situations where breastfeeding is probably not the best option, aren't there? I've also experienced the I-don't-know-where-to-look awkwardness. In the end, I love both my child and my modesty. I think they can coexist. :)

  18. I desperately wanted to breastfeed our daughter. She was six weeks early and struggled with feeding issues, I pumped religiously every three hours round the clock and they gave her whatever I could produce. When she was finally released we tried and tried but to no avail, I was ill and she wasn't getting enough so she ended up getting breast milk or 50/50 breast milk for the first 6-8 weeks of her life and then switched to straight formula. I'm all for breastfeeding, but I'm definitely a #2. For a long time I beat myself up for not being able to do better; however, I was very sick for the months following her arrival and it was just too hard on my body. Kudos to all of you that can and do, I have a friend who donates her milk, what a generous thing to do!

  19. #2 for sure.
    Nicole,I cannot believe the insensitivity and ignorance of the person that told you that.
    I guess this is the product of our western society that views the female breast as something for purely sexual purposes only.
    I have given birth to 3 kids and breastfed them all. (discreetly) I don't judge other moms who for whatever reason are not able to or choose not to nurse. But something to keep in mind is that God did create the perfect food for infants and ideally it's breastmilk. Otherwise, why do formula companies strive continually to mimic the nutrient content that women'e bodies(all things being equal)make naturally?
    Science is now confirming what most of the world had known all along. It's also been shown medically to be healthier for the mom and breastfed kids tend to be sick less.
    But thank God for formula when needed. I supplemented my youngest with it sometimes when I was working. But it is a fairly recent product in human history. Only about a century, I think. Before that, I guess a woman would find a wet nurse (or a goat!) if there was a problem feeding her baby.
    Ok,off of my soapbox now! lol

    Love to you all! :-)

  20. I would say number two, but only because I would feel very odd whipping out in the mall if my hypothetical baby was hungry. I'm naturally very shy, and would cower away to the family room to breastfeed, lol. But that's just me. With other women, it really doesn't bother me to see them breastfeeding in public. And it definitely doesn't bother me to see family members do it in their home or family members' homes either.

  21. Breastfeeding is best and perfectly natural. Your concern is your child and not what other people think. Be prepared for gawkers though.